Review by: John Bandler
To be human you have to be born, to be the product of the birthing process, something I’ve witnessed but can never claim to really understand.
The two-hander Jane’s Thumb is a drama about childbirth, a well-crafted drama like none other that I’ve seen. In her final moments of pregnancy, the unattached heroin of the story, librarian Jane (Andrea Adcock) struggles with her predicament—her human imperative to submit to the birthing process against the backdrop of her life and relationships.
Thumb (Allison Warwick) is her unborn baby. While combating the medical establishment and her own demons, Jane speaks to Thumb and indulges her addiction to literary allusion through fantasies of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale Thumbelina. We also learn about Jane’s inability to relate to men, and wonder about her seeming lack of friends or realizable support, other than an impersonal and unfeeling hospital system.
Working off Allison’s multiple and widely ranging character guises, Andrea delivers a spectacular performance as Jane, totally disappearing into Jane’s character. Andrea explores every nook and cranny of pathos and irony that Kelley Jo Burke’s sparkling script permits. And watch out for her renditions of various fairy-tale animal characters: they are truly riveting.
Using movement and lighting, the many transitions from reality to imagination are quick, seamless, and convincing. Allison Warwick delivers a delightful and strong performance. The all-white costumes are striking against the black background and props. “Jane’s Thumb is the script that made me want to direct,” says first-time director Crystal Jonasson. Well, this intense, must-see production has surely captured the essence of what it is to be human.